Wool Blanket, Snow and Letting Go
I looked out of my office window and watched the snow fall. The pre-blizzard wind lifted snow off of the roof and sent it down into the yard below. The wind gusts forced the snow to intersect which created suspended, white herringbone patterns in the air. At one point, on this morning, before this snow storm gained full traction, there were only left-over piles of last weekend’s snow and brown grass dominating the landscape. Now, just three hours into this storm, the snow had won. I watched from my white desk, tucking my socked feet beneath me as I stared through the white paned window which framed it all.
I imagined the brown grass waving its white flag of surrender as it once again folded into itself, settling in as the foot deep snowy blanket surrounded it. What began as the first fledgling snowflakes drifting from the sky had now turned to a steady snow globe. Even the black street acquiesced to the snow. Soon, all I would see was white and hints of black. White sky, white ground, white frosting the inky black trees.
I’ve been thinking about what separates one moment from its successor, one life experience from the next, one reality from another. A thin membrane exists between. At some point, we straddle both, dipping our toes into this liminal meeting of two realities, and then passing into the new.
This passage, at times, confounds me. Surely there be an exact pinnacle where both realities co-exist? Where they touch, brushing up against each other for a brief interlude before moving on?
A moment between wakefulness and sleep.
An interview between a job search and employment.
A belly laugh shifting a perspective from morose to bright.
A day giving way to night, lavender twilight dancing between.
Labor straddling pregnancy and motherhood.
A small shift in temperature yielding rain to snow.
An imperceptible shift within, yielding massive returns.
Eight women gathered to delve into the writing craft for a weekend. We closed our notebooks as we wrapped our workshop for the night. With a crackling fire and lit candles as our backdrop, the shuffling sounds of ending filled our space. With a last glance at the orange embers dancing in the fire place, I pulled my wool hat down over my ears and pulled on my boots. I walked out of the warmth of the decadent country house and into to the night, softly cut by the light of the carriage lantern.
I looked up. Crystal snow flakes frolicked on the frigid breeze. The cold reached into me; my arms tightened my down coat–but to no warm avail. The frozen, dimpled ground made my booted-footsteps wobbly and unsure. I walked the short distance to the yoga studio.
I really, reeeeeeeeeally do not want to do this.
I could do so many other things instead of yoga.
Alice Munro! I’ll read Alice Munro instead.
I don’t want to don’t want to don’t want to practice yoga.
I reached the yoga studio’s vestibule. I made it. I’m doing it, I thought dejectedly. My other writing friends were there, bare-footed and cross-legged in the muted light. I stomped my boots, hung my hat and coat on a white peg and entered, inhaling the soft lavender and exhaling jagged bits of apprehension. Purple yoga mats lined like vessels, ready to transport us to right here. We began.
Breathing (Why can’t I get a satisfying breath?)
Meditating (Why is there a brick on my chest?)
Down dog (I could still leave)
Pigeon (I should really really leave and Damn does this hurt)
Savasana (Thank GOD)
My yoga teacher’s calm, sage voice finally guided my body into Corpse Pose. I made it. The lights grew lower still. Soft shadows, scents of lavender, a yoga mat and Berber carpet met me. I heard the peaceful, satisfied exhales of my writing compadres. Although I lay on the floor and although the floor supported me, and although I’d just practiced 40 minutes of yoga, my muscles were taught. Clearly my muscles thought my body was dangling from a tight rope. Or, perhaps, being chased by a tiger. Or preparing to jump off of a high dive.
My yoga teacher whispered that she would cover us with the heavy woolen blankets, her words falling softly around me,
How lovely it is to be tucked in
Allow yourself to be cared for
A hundred burning pin pricks rushed my eyes, tears gathered. They descended swiftly down my cheeks and into my ears, cascading onto the purple yoga mat below. My thoughts picked up speed.
Run, run, run away into the frigid night : Stop disturbing everyone’s Savasana : If you pad quietly no one will notice you’re gone
Her words and hands tucked me into a place I desperately did not want to be, but met me exactly where I was. My arms and mind couldn’t name the emotion, couldn’t fit around the discomfort. So I lay in Savasana and surrendered. Deep, cathartic breaths (laced with quiet sobs) finally came. I allowed myself to be cared for, arms out, wool blanket grounding, salty tears falling, heart open as one person’s kindness struck and ignited like a match to my soul.
Surely at one point my stoic resolve met my eventual release, handing me off like a baton. They met in a moment when my terse muscles and firm grip slowly loosened–holding on and then, not. A liminal passage between this reality and the next. A rain drop to a snowflake. A small coat that fits and then, suddenly one morning reveals bare, pale wrists. A woolen blanket and pure kindness nudging from terse control to letting go.